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New York Times, Monday, June 12, 2017

Author: Dan Margolis
Editor: Will Shortz
Dan Margolis
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
35/26/20148/28/20170
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0300000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QWXZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Margolis. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Dan Margolis notes: I am very pleased to have my 2nd puzzle run in the NY Times! I have to give credit to some college friends for helping me bring ... more
Dan Margolis notes:

I am very pleased to have my 2nd puzzle run in the NY Times! I have to give credit to some college friends for helping me bring this together, they were spending a beautiful summer weekend with my wife and I and we started bouncing around "boy meets girl" names, there are actually a ton of them! Some that weren't used: Chris Christie, Edmund Hillary, Hugh Laurie, Buddy Holly. So it helped to have a bunch to choose from to make the puzzle and the fill work. Not too many fill issues since there were 4 theme entries including the revealer.

Thanks to Will and Joel for coming up with some improved clues and answers, I liked the way they took "neo" and "con" and made them into one answer (now why didn't I think of that?)

Jeff Chen notes: Neat idea, BOY MEETS GIRL interpreted as 'famous men with a last name that's also a girl's name.' RAUL JULIA is perfect, as JULIA is ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Neat idea, BOY MEETS GIRL interpreted as "famous men with a last name that's also a girl's name." RAUL JULIA is perfect, as JULIA is a common enough girl's name. CRYSTAL didn't come immediately to me as a girl's name, but of course there's CRYSTAL Gayle, the country singer.

CANDY … this one didn't work for me. I tried to find a good example of a famous woman named Candy, but Wikipedia failed me. Who knows, maybe there'll be a surge in girls getting named CANDY in the future? ADDED NOTE: Nancy Shack points out that CANDY Spelling, widow of Aaron Spelling and mother of Tori Spelling, should qualify based on her media exposure.

It would have been nice to get one other strong themer. Any one that Dan mentioned would added a ton of impact to the puzzle.

With just four themers — and two of them being only nine letters — I expect a super-clean grid, packed with jazzy long fill. I did like the bonuses of TINY TIM, BERSERK, even OBSTACLE, as I'm a big "American Ninja Warrior" fan. Pretty darn good in that regard.

AMATOL and BERNE, though. Hmm. Chemistry was one of my favorite subjects in school, but AMATOL feels pretty reachy, especially for what's supposed to be a puzzle that could attract novices. And the French spelling of Bern was odd, too.

I could have let those two slide, but then I ran into the ARTY ("artsy" feels more in-the-language to me) / CARO (tough foreign word) section. It may seem nit-picky to point these things out, but for a grid with not that much theme constraints, the grid ought to be silky smooth.

Here's an interesting constructor's dilemma: you can either 1.) have a long bonus entry in OBSTACLE, or you can 2.) shift the black squares above AMAJ one column to the left, which lets the NE corner connect better to the rest of the puzzle. Which is better?

Not sure of the right answer, but I would have tried the second option, along with rejiggering the black squares in the middle of the puzzle so that the solver would still get a long bonus down (one column to the right of OBSTACLE). I think that would have worked, given the lowish theme density.

Overall, a fun, fresh concept, always appreciated on a Monday. But it did feel thin, needing at least one more strong theme example, preferably two.

1
A
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0612 ( 24,688 )
Across Down
1. Skilled : ADEPT
6. What's more : ALSO
10. "Once ___ a time ..." : UPON
14. "___ got a deal for you!" : HAVEI
15. Apply, as plaster : DAUB
16. Repellent : VILE
17. First of a series of sci-fi movies starring Sigourney Weaver : ALIEN
18. 10:1, for example : ODDS
19. Computer command for the error-prone : UNDO
20. Actor who has hosted the Oscars nine times, a number second only to Bob Hope : BILLYCRYSTAL
23. Something stubbed : TOE
24. Powerful explosive : AMATOL
28. Baseball's ___ Joe DiMaggio : JOLTIN
32. Watchdog org.? : SPCA
34. Wrath : IRE
35. Sound of danger : ALARM
36. He played Gomez in 1991's "The Addams Family" : RAULJULIA
38. Prefix with -zoic : MESO
39. Tube-shaped pasta : PENNE
40. Geese formations : VEES
41. Comic actor who was an original cast member of SCTV : JOHNCANDY
43. Swiss capital, to French speakers : BERNE
44. India pale ___ : ALE
45. Affectedly creative : ARTY
46. Wild animals : BEASTS
47. Club Med, for one : RESORT
49. The "f" of fwiw : FOR
50. Beginning of a rom-com ... or a description of 20-, 36- and 41-Across? : BOYMEETSGIRL
57. In fine fettle : HALE
60. College in New Rochelle, N.Y. : IONA
61. Bert's pal on "Sesame Street" : ERNIE
62. Word of woe : ALAS
63. Thumbs-down votes : NAYS
64. Repeated short bits in jazz : RIFFS
65. Agree (with) : JIBE
66. Itsy-bitsy biter : GNAT
67. Units of nautical speed : KNOTS
1. Melville captain : AHAB
2. Limp watch painter : DALI
3. Satanic : EVIL
4. Rind : PEEL
5. Dickens lad who says "God bless us every one!" : TINYTIM
6. Worship : ADORE
7. ___ Gaga : LADY
8. Soap bubbles : SUDS
9. ___ course (part of boot camp) : OBSTACLE
10. Throat dangler : UVULA
11. Wrestling win : PIN
12. Outdated : OLD
13. With 21-Down, military hawk : NEO
21. See 13-Down : CON
22. Key of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7: Abbr. : AMAJ
25. Many flooring installers : TILERS
26. Show the ropes to : ORIENT
27. Alternatives to purchases : LEASES
28. Preserves preserver : JAMJAR
29. World Cup chant : OLEOLE
30. Mascara is applied to them : LASHES
31. 1982 Disney film : TRON
32. Devastating hurricane of 2012 : SANDY
33. Pint-size : PUNY
36. $2,000, if you land on Boardwalk with a hotel : RENT
37. Iris's place : UVEA
39. Spring break activity in Miami Beach or Cabo : PARTYING
42. Beloved, in "Rigoletto" : CARO
43. Crazy : BERSERK
46. Web crawler : BOT
48. Way overweight : OBESE
49. Thanksgiving meal : FEAST
51. Haunted house sound : MOAN
52. New Age singer from Ireland : ENYA
53. ___ and bear it : GRIN
54. Help desk offering : INFO
55. Fissure : RIFT
56. What 1 is to 2 and 2 is to 3 : LESS
57. Journey to Mecca : HAJ
58. "Aladdin" prince : ALI
59. Chemist's workplace : LAB

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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